Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 23°C

min temp: 17°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

France honours wartime bravery of Ipswich Spitfire pilot Stanley Chambers, now 99

11:00 10 January 2016

WW2 veteran Stanley Chambers has been awarded a Legion of Honour.

WW2 veteran Stanley Chambers has been awarded a Legion of Honour.

“Bonjour!” bellows Stanley Chambers, standing under his porch and smoking a cigar.

WW2 veteran Stanley Chambers has been awarded a Legion of Honour.WW2 veteran Stanley Chambers has been awarded a Legion of Honour.

The Ipswich war veteran, a Spitfire pilot who flew hundreds of missions during the Second World War, is in a jovial mood as he greets us at his home.

The 99-year-old puts on his old RAF uniform as he reflects on being awarded France’s Légion d’honneur for bravery against the Nazis.

“I think it is very good that the French government has recognised what we did and has awarded us accordingly,” said Mr Chambers, a father-of-three and grandfather to six children.

The medal is France’s top accolade for an elite group of people who distinguish themselves through civilian or military valour. It was initiated by the then First Consul of the French Republic, Napoleon Bonaparte, in 1802.

WWII veteran Stanley Chambers, of Ipswich, has many items from his time in the Navy including a diary where he kept track of events around D-Day.WWII veteran Stanley Chambers, of Ipswich, has many items from his time in the Navy including a diary where he kept track of events around D-Day.

French president Francois Hollande announced during the 70th anniversary commemoration of the Normandy landings that France would give its highest honour to all surviving D-Day veterans.

“I am honoured my long service and good conduct has been recognised,” Mr Chambers added.

His RAF career spanned from 1937 to 1958. He saw action in the medical branch at RAF Feltwell in Norfolk and later served with 165 Squadron, destroying German V-1 flying bombs at 2,500ft.

How often does he reflect on the war?

WW2 veteran Stanley Chambers has been awarded a Legion of Honour.WW2 veteran Stanley Chambers has been awarded a Legion of Honour.

“Every day,” he answers, solemnly.

He would also target marshalling yards: naval bases, locomotives, submarines and canal boats, and send back photographs of strategic sites for analysis.

He had earlier reflected: “We lost pilots. They would be flying alongside with you. You would look back again and... there was just space. Gone.

“You were scared. Of course we were. But you couldn’t show it. We had a job to do.

“You only had a few seconds [to aim and fire]. You are travelling at 300mph. You are coming down at a rate of knots and having a go. Bang! You watch the train blow up and see a cloud of smoke. The adrenalin... it fills you up fast.”

After the war, he volunteered in the Navy from 1967 to 1981.

He said: “I feel I served my country. I was in the Navy for 14 years as well and got a medal for it.”

He dedicated his Légion d’honneur to his eldest son Billy Chambers, whose son Michael is in the RAF.

Ipswich mayor Glen Chisholm paid tribute to Mr Chambers.

He said: “On behalf of the town, I want to pay tribute to the bravery shown by Mr Chambers in the battle to defeat Nazi tyranny.

“I am pleased that his courage, and those of other veterans who live in the town, has been recognised by the French Government with the award of the Legion of Honour.

“It may be more than 70 years since the end of the war but we should not, and shall never forget, the sacrifices made by so many.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

The scene as emergency services mounted a rescue at Sea Palling. Photo: Contributed.

One person has died and another has been airlifted to hospital after they got into difficulty in the water at Sea Palling in Norfolk.

Andy Beckwith

A former Essex man who went missing in Gibraltar has been found “in good health”, police have said.

A motorist involved in a crash on the A14 in which a teenager died will live with the “huge remorse” for the rest of his life, a court has heard.

Brendan Wright. Pic: Essex Police.

A Colchester man has been reported missing to police.

The Essex and Herts Air Ambulance

A five-year-old boy has been airlifted to hospital with serious head injuries after a crash in north-east Essex.

Stansted Airport

Planes carrying a number of passengers came within 700ft of each other after instructions were given to the wrong aircraft, an inquiry has found.

St Helena Hospice assistant nurse Emma Young reduced staff and patients to tears in Colchester after performing Adele's Make You Feel My Love. Pic: St Helena Hospice.

A video of an assistant nurse performing an Adele song at a Colchester hospice has gone viral.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24